JERUSALEM (Jan. 24)
The director general of Israel’s Defense Ministry predicts an arms race to introduce new weapons systems into the arena of conflict between Israel and Egypt. Yeshayahu Lavy said on a radio interview that Soviet weapons systems now deployed in Egypt confronted Israel with a new challenge. He said the other side was escalating the arms race. According to Lavy. Israel’s ability to keep pace with modern developments in weaponry depended on the development of its own arms industry. During his interview on Friday, he said that as long as it continues, Israel grows less vulnerable to threats of arms embargoes from abroad. Lavy said the government has drawn “appropriate conclusions” about the danger of depending on foreign arms sources. He warned, however that the application of these lessons depended on the pace of industrialization in Israel which was fairly rapid. Nevertheless, he said, it would take Israel some time to become self-sufficient in armaments. Lavy said that Israel faced a potential shortage of engineers and scientists. “Those available to us must meet the challenges,” he said.